Rutgers Football: Media Days attendees reflection of program

Head coach Chris Ash, Rutgers Football. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Head coach Chris Ash, Rutgers Football. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

Big 10 Football Media Days begin Thursday, July 18 in Chicago. Who Rutgers football head coach Chris Ash is bringing with him is almost as revealing as what he’ll say.

The Big 10 Conference will put on their annual football dog and pony show July 18-19 in Chicago. Every team in the conference sends their head coach and three players. Who Chris Ash is bringing with him to the Windy City says as much about this year’s Rutgers football team than what will come out of his mouth at the podium on Friday.

The Scarlet Knights are scheduled to address the assembled media on day two of the proceedings. Times have not been announced yet. Considering they are an afterthought in the conference hierarchy, Ash and company will probably take the stage around midday. Ohio State with new head coach Ryan Day and Michigan’s always entertaining head man Jim Harbaugh are the main events. Ash’s presser however might turn out to be the most bizarre.

A team who is predicted to win three and a half games and none in the conference isn’t exactly going to draw a swarm of media. Those who are there will be hard-pressed to ask good questions. Aside from the usual coach giving his state of the team and a question or two about who the quarterback will be Artur Sitkowski or McLane Carter, what is there to ask, other than some “out there” stuff (which is either very awkward or quite entertaining)?

None of the reporters is going to stand up and ask “Coach, the program has been an abomination since you arrived, how do you still have a job?”

Nor will anyone ask “Chris, how long do you think your winless streak in the Big 10 will last?” Which is a thinly veiled attempt at asking which other conference teams on the schedule does he think he can beat.

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Coming along for the ride and their own five minutes with the media this year are junior linebackers Tyshon Fogg and Tyreek Maddox-Williams, as well as senior offensive lineman Zach Venesky. In other words, no skill position players. Rutgers isn’t the only team doing that, but Michigan State and Northwestern can do it by choice.

The Knights didn’t bring a quarterback, because there is no clear cut starter. Running back Raheem Blackshear, was average at best, and no wide receiver caught more than 28 passes or had over 245 yards (Bo Melton) in 2018. Additionally, Rutgers best defensive backs went pro after last season.

Linebacker is where the strength of this years team lies. Fogg and Maddox-Williams are good players and may even contend for some all-conference honors at the end of the year. Even so, the overall Rutgers defense as a whole is far below the Big 10 median.

Scarlet Knights players will get good treatment from the hometown media, but really what will they be asked from those in attendance representing other markets (if they attend)? Not much, because players from a projected winless conference team typically don’t get many questions.

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